As you begin to craft your own business's cloud strategy, Larry Collins, Vice President of E-Solutions and Risk Engineering at Zurich Services Corporation, suggests considering these five areas:
1. Know the privacy standards.
If you're an international company, will using a cloud-service provider pass international privacy standards? Europe has the Privacy directive (95/46 EC) and Canada has PIPEDA. If you use a cloud service provider, will that system allow you to import/export data as you need to? The privacy regulations are very strict and warrant a careful read.
2. Beware of hacker attacks.
Are you placing your intellectual property on cloud servers? The cloud is a huge target for perpetrators of what's known as Advanced Persistent Threats.
3. Have an informed IT staff.
Are you retaining enough IT talent so that you're able to take advantage of the up-to-date services that the cloud offers? If you outsource your creative IT talent as well as your IT infrastructure, you may loose the main advantage of having a cloud--the ability to respond quickly to business opportunities as they opportunistically occur.
4. Be prepared for service interruptions.
What happens to your business if your cloud goes down? Do you have a back-up plan? If your cloud service provider is suddenly unavailable (hurricane, tornado, earthquake, hacker, etc.), can you continue to do business? You may want to keep enough reserve capacity in your existing system to keep a skeleton effort going, in case the unthinkable happens and your cloud becomes inaccessible.
5. Make sure to have enough flexibility.
If your business model changes, or if you acquire someone, can you adjust? Can you get them into your cloud? Careful here--some systems are so proprietary that you may not have the flexibility you think you do.
None of these are so sufficient that they should keep businesses from using cloud services. But in our rush to make optimal use of the cloud, they are red flags that should not be easily set aside.
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